I was forced to quit my PhD by both my supervisors


It all happened too soon and too quickly after what had happened to me and I felt I was choosing this project, again, because it was something I had to do after what happened to me.

The college tutors asked me to write a report, which I did. They said they would take it to the head of department. I haven’t heard anything back yet.


I would do a PhD at the same institution, sure, if the project was right. I'm not avoiding it because of what happened to me. It's just that I want to find something that "puts fire in my belly" as it were!

I'm not going to limit myself to one area either (which I did previously)... so I have a better choice.


I have full support of the institution at where it all happened so I wouldn't mind doing a PhD there at all. But the project has to be right and the supervisor has to be right... and the ones that are on offer I'm not interested in.

So I'm broadening my search. I am not limiting myself to one area and I'm willing to live somewhere completely different, as long as the project and supervisor are right.

But the institution were very supportive and I was offered something else, but it just wasn't right. Or I wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time.

I have just taken a break. I have spent some time with a member of my family, just chilling out for a few months and got my self confidence back because it was severely dented.

Onwards and upwards!


I really cannot believe my eyes. If all you said is true, what a evil person your supervisor is. I really wonder how such a person can have any right or ability to supervise any students. it's a warning to us that before we learn to do anything ,learn to be a human being.


QT I'm so chuffed to hear that you're going to push on with it, and I think looking to another institution is a great idea. It will give you a chance to start afresh with no baggage. Good luck to you mate! Gotta be honest, I'm having issues with my supervisor at the moment that I see building up to something explosive. How in the world do you find the right supervisor, I wonder?! One of my mates gets on so well with his supervisor. Is this a one-in-a-million scenario?!


How horrible, bad supervisors can really mess things up.
In a PhD it is up to you to take the lead and ask for help, and not common to be praised for work. Criticism is quite common as it is used to improve your work and remove any weak areas.
However, what a ****! You need at least a year to get going on a PhD, and you need to learn from somewhere. I'm glad you did take action, good luck for the future.


The position you turned down - did that supervisor understand that you needed some time?


I could not believe my eyes either, but there is no doubt in my (and the college tutors’) minds that I was bullied out of my PhD and forced to quit against my will.

Very much so; you need to be a whole person to supervise satisfactorily. That is, your emotional side has to be developed to some degree. You have to have : gone out, smelt the flowers, danced in the rain, stayed up all night because you’re so in love, or cried all night because you lost that love, you have to have gotten sick because you drank too much, or because you overdosed on chocolate sundaes, ended up in bed with someone with whose name you don’t know, thrown snowballs, drunk cocktails until sunrise……(my gosh! whatever floats your boat!)…. you get the picture.

Some people never bother to develop that side of themselves. And how can you understand or supervise students if you have never LIVED? And then try to apply your principles onto other people?


Xeno – thanks :o)

Second time around I will be researching the subject and asking a whole lot more questions before I jump in.

Getting on well with supervisor being one-in-a-million chance? What does “well” mean? What does one define as “well”?.

Ouch. Sounds like you are your supervisor are not communicating as well as you could be and this lack of communication may be leading to an all-out confrontation.

How to find the right supervisor? I wonder too. When you have found out please can you tell me… maybe I’ll be able to find a lifelong partner like this also ;o)


cc – thank you :o)


Rogue, it all happened so fast. The head of the other department interviewed me and said: pick four or five subjects from this list and go and have a chat with each of the supervisors and get a feel of things.

Firstly, what are the chances of a good subject that is tailored to my needs being on that list? There were no chances of course – they were just a list of subjects that I had to choose having been chucked off the original PhD I wanted to do.

I saw four supervisors, three of which I did not get a good feel for at the beginning. So I was left with one… He interviewed me and during the interview told me he would interview other people to make the process fair and would get back to me. He did interview others and he telephoned me personally a week later to tell me I had the PhD if I wanted it.


He was the nicest by far: first of all he sought me out above all the others – he contacted me first to ask me to come to the interview. And then he telephoned me to tell me I had the job which was a nice touch also.

However, the subject just sucked!!!!! I felt really awful about turning him down, but the subject just wasn’t what I wanted to spend 3 years of my life researching.

Anyway, I came to this conclusion AFTER I accepted the PhD. So I wrote him an email and said “I’m sorry but after thinking long and hard about this, I feel that this PhD is not for me”. It’s better that I said it now, rather than 1 or 2 years down the line.

I think I hurt his feelings because I never heard back from him. But he was the most human supervisor I had come across!!!


Well QT, he does loads of stuff with his supervisor--they go out to lunch, to conferences and lectures together, email each other regularly, etc. It's astonishing, I've never witnessed such an amicable supervisor/student relationship before! Yeah, it's all a gamble really when we start, because we really have no clue about the character/nature of our supervisors until we jump in (unless, of course, you carry on with the same institution where you did your undergrad/postgrad degrees). I'm perceiving a personality clash with my supervisor. I try to be convivial when I see him, but he just shoots me down every time by having this look on his face like 'I've got better things to do than be here with you right now.' It's quite dispiriting, usually takes me a couple of days to cool down after our meetings. Anyway, sorry to go on. Hope you find the right fit


I struggled with one of my supervisors for ........... well I guess I still am but it just means alot less to me these days. My first year and a half were grim, I cried alot. My supervisor took a disliking to me from day one, she banned other people in my research group from helping me, she dished out alot of critacism, non of it constructive and I didn't even dare dream about encouragment. She's set me impossible targets to watch me fail, constanlty telling me she thought I couldn't do it and I should just submit an Mphil and call it a day. She picked on every weakness I have (my dyslexia was her favourite) and I broke, I hit rock bottom and snapped.


I went to speak to someone in the dept about quitting and she found out (nothing is confidential in accademia) and confronted me so I told her......everything. I called her a bully and cried,swore and shouted for an hour. I had nothing to loose, she couldn't do anything else to me at that stage. Since then I've stopped caring, I expect the worst from her and enjoy the fact that I'm still going much to her annoyance and she still has to proof read my work etc. the way I see it is she has something I want so I'll be civil and then I'll walk away and have a great life and forget she existed. It just took me hitting rock bottom to get perspective. Consequently my phd has been tough, she's right I'm not a natural but that's no excuse to be a bully, I WILL finish this, I've realised a PhD is more about stamina than skill, you've just got to decide if it's worth the 3/4 year fight.